We’ve seen beyond the greasy curtain of fast food and discovered how KFC actually makes fried chicken from the raw animal to the final product that gets put into buckets and double downs at their stores. It’s basically like how your grandma would do it—except they use an infernal magic machine called “pressure frier.”
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Disclosure: KFC arranged for travel and accommodations to tour their kitchen and facilities at the KFC headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky as part of a KFC Insiders Event for the media.
After recently taking a tour of KFC’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky and running into creepy, beyond realistic statues of Colonel Sanders (one surprised me because it moved and talked) and trying to see if KFC employees always eat KFC for lunch at the cafeteria (they don’t but they could!), I got my apron on in the KFC company kitchen and made some fried chicken the official KFC way.
And though much of the specifics that have turned Kentucky Fried Chicken into KFC is purposely played up to create a mythical company lore (no one knows the secret 11 ingredient Original Recipe, a fact that KFC likes to remind people of, and the Colonel was the World’s Most Interesting Man, a title KFC hopes to re-take from the Dos Equis guy), it’s a little bit comforting to know that, well, comfort fast food is made in a way that we can relate to. Well, except KFC does it on a much more massive scale.
But the real surprise is in how unsurprising the process actually is (which I guess, is indicative of how low we set the bar for fast food chains). Here’s what they do:
1. Inspect chicken breasts, thighs, legs and wings
KFC uses real chickens but those chickens come in a bag because they’ve already been processed into the desirable cuts. The first step in making KFC fried chicken is to check the chicken. Basically, it’s a quality control thing, the people in the back of the restaurant are seeing if the chicken is bruised, if there is excess fat or leftover feathers or accidental organs left in. They’re usually fine.
2. Dunk chicken into the brine
It’s to get the breading to stick.
3. Dry off the chicken by tossing the chicken around 7 times
You’ll soon see that KFC is obsessed with doing things 7 times. The drying toss is done to ensure the chicken isn’t too wet when it hits the breading.
4. Lay out the chicken onto the secret Original Recipe breading
Now the fun begins.
5. Cover the chicken in the breading with a pseudo breaststroke motion
The breading is so fine that when you put your hands in the mixing tub, it basically feels like swimming in fairy dust.
6. For 7 times
Yup, 7 strokes.
7. Collect the chicken in a basket and do this (quite fun) see saw motion… 7 times
Again, with the 7 times. This is done to make sure the chicken isn’t over-breaded (and to re-use the breading).
8. Place the breaded chicken on the frying rack
There’s a whole chart that KFC uses to teach its employees how to place the breaded chicken cuts on a rack with different illustrations depending on the size of the cuts.
9. Rack ’em and pressure fry them
KFC pressure fries its fried chicken which sounds scary and awesome and requires special machines to do so.
10. Wait over 10 minutes for the machines to do their thing and… that’s how you make KFC fried chicken.
Pro tip: KFC fried chicken tastes especially delicious when you’re the one making it.
Here’s a video clip showing the whole process: